Former Colorado governor held in contempt by ethics panel

FILE - In this Aug. 10, 2019, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks in Des Moines, Iowa. Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper didn't appear at a Colorado Independent Ethics Commission hearing Thursday, June 4, 2020, defying a commission subpoena and a court order that he participate as it considers a Republican complaint that trips he took on private planes while Colorado's governor violated the state's gift ban. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 10, 2019, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks in Des Moines, Iowa. Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper didn't appear at a Colorado Independent Ethics Commission hearing Thursday, June 4, 2020, defying a commission subpoena and a court order that he participate as it considers a Republican complaint that trips he took on private planes while Colorado's governor violated the state's gift ban. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

DENVER

DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission held former Gov. John Hickenlooper in contempt Thursday for defying orders to appear at a hearing on a Republican complaint that private plane trips he took while governor violated the state's gift ban.

The commission had subpoenaed Hickenlooper to testify after his legal team argued that the hearing's remote format violates his right to face his accusers. His taxpayer-funded attorney, Mark Grueskin, appeared instead.

Late in the day, Grueskin offered to have Hickenlooper appear at a June 16 hearing but the commission rejected the last-minute offer.

Commissioners voted unanimously on the contempt motion and will reconvene Friday to discuss sanctions against Hickenlooper, a Democrat who is seeking a U.S. Senate seat.